Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Bombay Beach Adventure

If you have never heard of Bombay Beach, you might think the name would be fitting to a place that is similar to a tropical paradise.  You would be right, except that it no longer is the thriving community that it once was in the mid century.

I've always been curious about the Salton Sea and the surrounding areas and decided to take a visit a few years ago to wander around neighborhoods and see what I could find.  As I turned the corner to the community of Bombay Beach, it was as I imagined it to be.  Very few of the homes are lived in today.  When I visited a few weeks ago, I heard an explosion and once I headed in the direction of the smoke, I noticed that one of the trailers was engulfed in flames.  I asked a passerby what happened and if everyone was ok and he said that the owner crossed the wires to the propane tank, and he's he walked by me and disappeared around the corner.

I came to visit the town alone with my dog, Max.  At the time of the explosion, we were exploring abandoned homes and walking around the streets.  Because I was in my car near the fire, one neighbor came out and yelled at me to get away.  I decided to drive the car to a safe distance and I parked it while I jumped out and headed to the fire with my camera in tow, not really knowing what I was doing.  My natural instinct was to photograph what was happening at that moment.  Most residents were in their homes with a few people standing around.  I heard sirens as trucks were approaching to help.  Right before the fire truck arrived, I man pulled up and jumped out of his car 50 feet from me and yelled, "hey you!! Better take that camera away!" I slowly put the camera down and ignored him while he was standing there staring at me while making a gesture of his hand slitting his throat then pointing at me.  At this time, I was the only person standing out in the open so I decided it might be best to head back to the car, which I did.

Eventually, the fire was put out and nobody was hurt.  I don't know the entire story of what happened, but I am still intrigued by this area.  After this visit, I watched the documentary, "Bombay Beach" on Netflix.  It portrays life in this area pretty well.  I would recommend it.  Also, Anthony Bourdain took a trip here a few years ago and ate at the Ski Inn.  I have yet to eat there, but I plan to go back.  Believe it or not, I would love to live here for a while to document the neighbors.  In the meantime, here are a few photos from that day.


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